Visual Methodologies

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June 22, 2009 18:11  |  2 Comments

VisualMethodologies

An Introduction to the Interpretation of Visual Materials | English | Sage | 304p

Sesuai dengan namanya, buku ini memaparkan beragam teori dan metodologi analisa materi visual dan kaitannya dengan budaya sekitarnya. Dengan sistematis dan konstruktif Rose menganalisa berbagai kerangka teoritis serta metodologi relevan yang menyediakan bagaimana, kenapa dan kapan kita dapat menggunakan teknologi visual untuk mendukung penelitian, atau bahkan menjadi bagian utama dari penelitian itu sendiri.

Dalam kaitannya dengan kebudayaan, ditekankan lima aspek:

  1. Gambar memiliki resistensi dan efek khusus yang menghindari artikulasi (contohnya punctum (Barthes 1981), kecenderungan gambar untuk didampingi informasi (teks) lainnya [Barthes 1977: 25-27]);
  2. Gambar dapat menciptakan, mengukuhkan, melemahkan, bahkan menghancurkan, relasi dan perbedaan sosial;
  3. Gambar mempunyai hubungan yang dinamis dengan penontonnya—bagaimana gambar dilihat tidak hanya tergantung pada gambar itu sendiri tapi juga mengundang cara pandang tersendiri (Berger 1972);
  4. Gambar berkaitan dengan konteks dan lokasi dengan praktik dan peraturan yang berbeda-beda;
  5. Sebagaimana gambar mempunyai resistensi, begitu pula penonton memiliki respons yang berbeda-beda.

Menurut Rose, aspek ke-5 ini biasanya sering terlantarkan, dan umumnya studi resepsi atau audiencing yang ada meneliti kaitannya dengan media massa, terutama TV (misal, Ang 1985, 1991; Walkerdine 1990), sementara studi resepsi fotografi atau setting museum/galeri masih jarang dilakukan (meski semenjak buku ini diterbitkan, sepertinya mulai muncul banyak penelitian tersebut).

Yang menarik dari yang ditawarkan Rose adalah caranya menganalisa gambar yang kritis dan penekanannya pada refleksifitas. Menurutnya, analisa gambar perlu dilakukan pada tiga wilayah, yaitu: 1) situs produksi gambar, 2) situs gambar itu sendiri, dan 3) situs penonton. (Pendapat ini umumnya juga diutarakan berbagai peneliti visual, seperti misal Banks (2001); Barthes (1981) dengan operator-spectrum-spectatornya; Pink (2006)). Sementara untuk menganalisanya, perlu diperhatikan tiga aspek (‘modalities’): 1) komposisionalitas, 2) teknologi, dan 3) sosial.

Dengan membedah materi visual dan menempatkannya dalam kerangka di atas, Rose kemudian memaparkan berbagai metodologi dalam tiap babnya: 1) interpretasi komposisional, 2) analisis isi, 3) semiologi, 4) psikoanalisis, 5) analisa diskursus (yang dibagi menjadi dua, sehubungan dengan: a) teks, intertekstualitas dan konteks; b) institusi dan cara pandang), 6) audiencing, dan juga penggunaan beragam metode. Tiap bab umumnya juga menganalisa studi kasus, diakhiri dengan rangkuman, beserta kekuatan dan kelemahan tiap metodologi.

Buku ini menawarkan rangkuman praktis berbagai teori visual sekaligus memberi gambaran mengenai perdebatan dan perkembangan dalam disiplinnya. Kelemahannya mungkin kurangnya pemaparan aplikatif dan isu etis. Terlepas dari itu, buku ini merupakan salah satu buku pengenalan panduan teori penelitian visual yang paling komprehensif.


An Introduction to the Interpretation of Visual Materials | English | Sage | 304pp

This book elaborates on various theories and visual methodologies, emphasising the ubiquity of visual materials in today’s culture. (She gives a short, general summary of the “rise” of ocularcentrism in modernism and its evolution into simulacra in postmodern era). Rose systematically analyses a number of theoretical frameworks along with relevant methodologies to describe how, why and when we can use visual technologies as research supporting tools, or even as the foundation of the research itself.

Rose emphasises five major points from current debates about images:

1. Images are sites of resistance and recalcitrance; they produce their own particular effects that elude articulations (for example, Barthes’ (1981) punctum, and the tendency of images and texts to be presented together [Barthes 1977: 25-27]);

2. Images can construct, consolidate, or even disrupt social relations, they “offer very particular visions of social categories such as class, gender, race, sexuality, able-bodiedness, and so on,” a point that has been repeatedly studied in gender and postcolonial studies.

3. “Images of social difference work not simply by what they show but also by the kind of seeing that they invite,” how it positions the spectator in relation to it, a point elaborated by Berger’s (1972) famous BBC documentary and accompanying book.

4. The seeing of an image always takes place within a particular social context with its own particular practices, disciplines and rules that influence how the spectators behave and see the image.

5. Just as images have their own resistance and recalcitrance, so do audiences have their own responses. This particular aspect, usually studied through audiencing or reception studies, is usually neglected, generally preferring to analyse the institutional and media aspect of images. Audiencing or reception studies are more commonly done for mass media such as TV (Ang 1985, 1991; Walkerdine 1990), and radio, with a noticeable lack of research on the audiencing of photography and museum/gallery setting. (Perhaps Bourdieu, but a few recent ones that I’m aware of: Jones (2002) studies the reception of phatological images in museum setting, Rose (2005) herself studies the use of photographs within domestic setting.)

In summary, “an image may have its own visual effects (so it is important to look very carefully at images); these effects, through the ways of seeing mobilized by the image, are crucial in the production and reproduction of visions of social difference; but these effects always intersect with the social context of its viewing and the visualities its spectators bring to their viewing.”

Rose’ originality lies in her proposed analytical framework that is both critical yet at the same time emphasises reflexivity. She emphasises three sites—broadly concurred within the study of visual—where meanings are made: 1) the site(s) of the production, 2) the site of the image itself, and 3) the site(s) where it is seen by various audiences. (For similar emphasis, see Banks (2001); Barthes (1981) with his operator-spectrum-spectator; Pink (2006)).

In each of these sites, it is important to pay attention to three ‘modalities’: 1) technological, that is, ‘any form of apparatus designed either to be looked at or to enhance natural vision, from oil paintings to television and the Internet’. 2) Compositional strategies: content, colour and spatial organization, for example. 3) Social, “the range of economic, social and political relations, institutions and practices that surround an image and through which it is seen and used.”

Dissecting visual materials within here proposed framework, Rose then proceeds chapter by chapter studying various methodologies: 1) compositional interpretation, 2) content analysis, 3) semiology, 4) psychoanalysis, 5) discourse analysis (further divided into two, in its relation to: a) text, intertextuality and context; b) institution and ways of seeing), 6) audiencing, and mixing methods. Each chapter is accompanied by specified case studies, and ended with a summary, as well as its strengths and weaknesses.

Visual Methodologies offers a general and practical condensation of various visual theories and methodologies as well as giving rough outlines of the current debates and developments within various disciplines. Perhaps its weakness is the lack of ethical or applicative discussions of the methods, but otherwise, this book gives one of the most comprehensive analytical and methodological tools for visual research.

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: Founding director, c2o library & collabtive. Currently also working in Singapore as a Research Associate at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS). Opinions are hers, and do not represent/reflect her employer(s), institution(s), or anyone else with whom she may be remotely affiliated.
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2 Responses

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  1. moek says:

    wah acaranya pasti menarik tuh jeng pengen banget datang ki… dan pengen lama di sono liat koleksi perpsutakaanmu… salam buat semua yaaa…

  2. c2o library says:

    Kedatanganmu selalu dinanti dengan arak dan kopi item anget Klas, kapanpun

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